Mr Ali Mufuruki was a dedicated family man, devoted friend, visionary leader, and businessman committed to advancing Africa.
That is how those who knew Mufuruki remembered him when they paid tribute to his as a leader, father and friend during a virtual celebration hosted by the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS) held on November 14, 2020.
MINDS along with other and organisations held the event to commemorate Mr Mafuruki’s life and contribution to the development of Africa.
Mr Mufuruki passed away in December 2019, leaving behind his wife Saana and four children Abdulrazak, Laila, Sophia and Zahra.
Zahra Mufuruki recalls that her father was a man of principle, never swaying f his values.
“Those rules have shaped me to be who I am today,” she said.
Among the values that Mufuruki will be remembered for is being a pan-Africanist, says MINDS Chairperson and Trustee, Mrs Graça Machel.
“The whole concept of Pan-Africanism is to take Africa in its totality and believe it is home to all of us,” she said, adding that Mr Mufuruki remains a big inspiration to MINDS.
Mr Mufuruki was born in Bukoba, a village straddling the shores of Lake Victoria in northern Tanzania. He grew up to be an astute businessman, serving as Chairman and CEO of Infotech Investment Group, based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Infotech Investment Group has interests in IT and telecoms services, retail and real estate in East Africa.
While Mr Mufuruki was just as committed to his country of birth as he was to the continent, MINDS Founder, Dr Nkosana Moyo says he did so in a “balanced way” mindful of the global village we all live in.
Dr Moyo added that a “big takeaway” for young people from Mufuruki’s life is the understanding that no African country will be free until every African country is free.
“Let’s not be satisfied with admiring Ali. The biggest honour would be continuing the journey he started,” insists Dr Moyo.
In addition to being a founding Trustee of MINDS, Mufuruki also sat on the boards of major continental companies and organisations including Chai Bora from Tanzania Wananchi Group Holdings in Kenya, and Vodacom in Tanzania. He also featured prominently on the CEO Roundtable of Tanzania (CEOrt) and was the founder of the Africa Leadership Initiative (ALI), East Africa.
ALI representatives present at the celebration echoed Dr Moyo’s sentiments of following in Mufuruki’s footsteps. According to ALI West Africa Director, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, it is time we moved away from being commentators to active contributors in order to build on Mufuruki’s laudable legacy.
“We have to mould and multiply leaders like the one we are celebrating today,” said Kwaku Sakyi-Addo.
To Mufuruki, his tenure as Chairman of Vodacom Tanzania was not necessarily about being on the board but advancing technology in Tanzania noted Hisham Hendi, who is currently Vodacom Tanzania’s Managing Director.
“Ali would challenge us as board members,” Hendi remembers.
Mufuruki was willing to engage in thought leadership, providing excellent ideas on how to advance the continent, says Leonard Mususa, who worked with Mufurki closely.
CEOrt Director, David Tarimo, commented that business leaders were always “busy” and unable to give meaningful time towards building the continent. However, he added that business leaders have the responsibility to set the foundation for future generations – as Mr Mufuruki did.
“If we are to live Ali’s legacy are we going to put ourselves out there the way he did?” he challenged attendees.
Sophia Mufuruki has even fonder memories of her father. She shared that he was a dreamer who dedicated his life to an African ideal.
“May the seeds [that] my dad planted in [all] our minds continue to grow so we can be like him.”
Watch the full celebration of Ali Mufuruki’s life here.